Moving Hornet Nation Forward

A loyal donor for nearly 30 years, the late Elaine Slater defined what it meant to be an active member of Hornet Nation. The Morris County, Kansas, native attended Emporia State for one year as a student and went on to work for Southwestern Bell in Bonner Springs, Kansas, and as a private branch exchange (PBX) operator receptionist for Koch Refrigeration in Kansas City, Kansas.

Slater returned to Emporia State as an employee for 34 years, serving as a warehouse supervisor of the Memorial Union Bookstore for three years and as a switchboard operator for 31 years before retiring in 1999. Away from Emporia State, Slater was a member of First United Methodist Church, Order of the Eastern Star in Wilsey, Kansas, VFW Auxiliary and United Methodist Women.

Established on March 28, 2012, the Elaine A. Slater Scholarship Fund was established in support of her belief in the importance of higher education and to provide students with an educational opportunity. The Elaine A. Slater Scholarship Fund provides scholarships for music education majors who are graduates of a Kansas high school and have a 3.0 minimum GPA.

She bolstered this fund with a generous estate gift of $100,000. The scholarship can now provide additional dollars to help music education majors succeed.  

Slater left an impact on colleagues during her 34 years at Emporia State. Dr. James Williams, vice president of Student Affairs, had the privilege of working with Slater when the Residential Life office was located next to the Emporia State switchboard on campus.

"For a number of years, I was blessed with daily visits and conversations with Slater," Dr. Williams said. "She had a passion for her position within the Hornet Nation, as well as an interest in the students. She was always interested in the activities of the students and took advantage of the many wonderful things taking place on the campus.

"I always knew if I wanted honest feedback, with a slant towards support of students, Elaine would provide that feedback. She really saw Emporia State University as an extension of her family and was proud of the institution."

Slater's philanthropic legacy has also left a lasting impression with Emporia State's Department of Music. Dr. Allan Comstock, Emporia State Department of Music chair, and current Emporia State Department of Music student, Jennifer Demaree are extremely grateful for Slater's gift to Emporia State.

"This very generous gift will help both current and future music education students realize their dreams of becoming music teachers," Dr. Comstock said. "The endowed scholarship came as a huge surprise to me. The music faculty, our music education majors, and myself are very, very grateful for Elaine Slater's incredible generosity. She truly exemplifies what it means to be a life-long Hornet."

"Receiving the Elaine A. Slater Scholarship has helped me in more ways than one," said Demaree. "As a music major, I hope to be a music teacher one day. Since I received the Elaine A. Slater Scholarship, I didn't have to take out as many student loans."

"The Elaine A. Slater Scholarship helped ease my parents' minds," Demaree said. "My parents help with college as much as possible, but with the scholarship, it helped me lessen their worry about my financial future. Without the Elaine A. Slater Scholarship and ones like it, I would not be able to be here at Emporia State learning music to become a music teacher."

"This also helped with my schooling. I worried about my finances, but this scholarship helped me focus on my education. I have earned a 3.83 GPA my fourth year here after taking 132 hours."

"There are no words to properly express my gratitude for receiving this scholarship," Demaree said. "I want the trustees of the Elaine A. Slater Scholarship Fund to know that they aren't just investing in my education, they are funding the future students I will be teaching and hopefully impacting in amazing ways. I want them to know that as I perform my senior recital next fall, and then in the spring walk across the stage to get my degree, that it's only with the help of this scholarship that I was able to do it."

Scholarships for Future Hornets

Private scholarships like the Elaine A. Slater Scholarship are extremely important to Emporia State University and its students. For information about establishing a scholarship fund that will leave a legacy by including a gift n your current or future plans, contact Shane Shivley at 620-341-6475 or